Tag Archives: Belize City

Day 14

The day is done. I think that the entire group is in disbelief. It’s hard to imagine not living 24/7 with these thirteen people always around. I, really all of us, have become accustomed to our daily routine of rising early and exploring the different natural features of Belize. If it were up to me, we would explore the other major ecosystems of this country (the Maya Mountains and the savannah). I would also be interested to see how Belize City differs from Houston, Philadelphia, or other international cities.
Anyway, today was mostly spent quantifying biodiversity on the back reef near to the research station. This means that we spent the morning wading around the shallow area searching for any organism we could find. I was particularly proud of myself for finding a cute, small snail that crawled all of the way up my dive skin. I was less excited about the dead fish that Randy stuffed in my dive skin. We found a least five different types of green algae, a sea cucumber, a sponge, lots of brown algae, red algae, a French grunt, a yellowtail damselfish, a goby, a couple molluscs, and a couple of jellies.
On another note, I did not see that many examples of my taxonomic group. On the brief times that the water was deep enough for us to snorkel, I saw (shocker) a lot of sea fans (Gorgonia ventalina). In the end, I think that I have seen all of the soft coral on the Glover’s field guide. I wonder what the relatively high abundance of soft corals means for the hard corals, in terms of reef accretion. Anyway, this trip has opened up numerous future research topics. I hope to learn more about them in the upcoming semester at Rice.

Traveling to Glover’s, Day 9

I drank freshly brewed coffee for the first time this morning since leaving Houston and it was amazing. Never underestimate the power of real coffee. (Instant was very nice to have in the forest and I was happy we had it, but the real deal is pretty sweet). We headed to the zoo this morning for a bit. Charlie, the scarlet macaw, spoke to me! He said “hello” three times and only talked to me. I saw the spider monkeys and howler monkeys and then we had to leave. Our van was late again, but only by 15 minutes this time instead of 5 hours.

We drove into Belize City, had lunch, and then headed out to Glover’s on the boat. It took about three hours and I am so happy to say I did not get seasick. We quickly put on our snorkel gear and headed out to a small patch reef that was close to the dock. I saw so many stony corals: Orbicella faveolata, Orbicella annularis, Pseudodiploria strigosa, Pseudodiploria labrynthiformis, Porites astreoides, and Porites porites. I saw many fish as well, like the Threespot damselfish and blue chromis. Afterwards we had dinner and then had a few lectures.

There are hermit crabs and land crabs everywhere! The sand flies are horrible and leave these weird markings on my skin. But falling asleep to the sound of the waves is great. Check back in tomorrow!

Photo has been rotated left for some reason. Spider monkey perfectly showing off his or her prehensile tail!
Belize Zoo
Belize Zoo
Middle Caye
Middle Caye

Day 1: Houston to Belize

At 10:30 this morning our adventure began. We met up at Rice before going to Hobby Airport and then flying to Belize City. As we descended into the city, it was already clear that we were entering a different country. The houses here are painted every bright shade imaginable, which makes everything seem more festive and exciting.

The number of trees is amazing. Wherever wasn’t developed was being lost to the forest. We noticed lots of small fires as we traveled from Belize City to San Ignacio. The current theories are that they are for burning trash and for slash-and-burn agriculture. Hopefully we’ll be able to get a better idea of these fires when it is light out in the future.

A stand of bamboo at Crystal Paradise
A stand of bamboo at Crystal Paradise

We saw many species of trees. The most common were palms, which seem to be able to rise above other trees to take full advantage of the light, and Cecropia species, which have large palmate leaves. The leaves look somewhat like hands, with multiple lobes originating from the center. I haven’t seen any algae yet because we haven’t been by water, and I’ll give an update on more trees that we find tomorrow!